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Vanilla Ice cream with Rosemary Rhubarb & Strawberries

August 2, 2014

There's nothing better than home-made ice-cream!

There’s nothing better than home-made ice-cream!

The impetus for this post was a gorgeous bunch of rhubarb that I found at the farmers market last week. Rhubarb is not something that I was exposed to as a kid and only discovered it as an adult in my past quests for low sugar, low-fat, low-calorie foods. This fit the bill and I was determined to like this stuff – but how can you call it a fruit when clearly, it is a vegetable!!!

In fact, it was classified a vegetable until 1947 when the United States decided it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. It’s very similar to Swiss chard in that both can have long red leaf stalks and glossy dark leaves although I was surprised to find out that rhubarb is related to the buckwheat family while chard belongs to the beet genus.

Nutritionally, rhubarb contains a decent amount of potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and dietary fibre although it contains oxalic acid which renders the calcium not so bio-available to the body. The leaves of rhubarb contain a significant amount of oxalic acid that can be fatal, so the leaves are definitely not edible.

Rhubarb has been used for years in Chinese medicine as a laxative and is hence useful as a cathartic in case of constipation. Handy to know!

I always remember rhubarb being as cheap as chips a decade ago and very seasonal. Seeking it out now you will find it priced at up to $7 a bunch which seems outrageous, so I was very excited to find some lovely glossy red stalks for $3.50 last week.

Rhubarb contains a lot of water and it breaks down very readily when cooked. I prefer to give the stalks a very light cooking rather than a lengthy stewing. They are nice roasted which intensifies the flavour but i think they need more sugar this way.

Many people describe rhubarb as being sweet yet tart, but I only get the mouth puckering tart and sour taste. Sour is good. I think that we are so programmed into the familiarity of sweet & salty & sour tastes, that we forget the multitude of other tastes out there like tart, pungent, umami, bitter, astringent, spicy and more..

So I cooked up the tart stalks with orange juice and strawberries, and I have added a fragrant twist of rosemary which pairs beautifully. But you can’t have stewed fruit without……ice-cream!

Make this dairy-free ice-cream ahead and freeze into ice-block trays if you don’t have an ice-cream churn. Blend the blocks when ready to serve for a luscious, seemingly instant, ice-cream.

The softness of ice-cream depends on the sugar & fat content of the mix (and of course, your freezer temperature). *The addition of vegetable glycerin will help with keeping the texture softer but is entirely optional. You can find it in health-food shops and sometimes, supermarket, but check that it is food grade. I have it in my cupboard as it works as a good emulsifier and anti-crystallising agent too.

400g coconut cream
200g nut milk (I used almond)
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
80g coconut sugar (I used Natvia)
1 tab brown rice syrup or maple
5 egg yolks
1 egg white
20g glycerin*
20g macadamia oil
pinch cinnamon
Add all of the ingredients to the TM and cook on SP 4 at 80°C for 10 minutes. Cool and pour into ice-cube trays and allow to freeze overnight.
Mill the frozen mix on SP 9 for 10 seconds and then add the egg-white. Continue to blend on SP 8 until creamy. Pour into a sealable container and freeze for 15 minutes while you make the rhubarb. If your freezer is really cold, you will need to remove any left-over ice-cream from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving to soften.
In Queensland we don't get rhubarb like this from the  Farm Gate markets in Tasmania!

In Queensland we don’t get rhubarb like this from the Farm Gate markets in Tasmania!

1 bunch rhubarb, chopped into 2cm lengths

1 punnet strawberries, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 tab coconut sugar – or more to taste
rind & juice of 1 orange
1 sprig of young rosemary
Place rhubarb, sugar, rosemary, cinnamon & orange into a shallow pan and cook gently until the sugar is dissolved and rhubarb has softened.  Add the strawberries and cook for a further 3 minutes until they start to soften, then cover with a lid and turn the heat off. Let sit for 10 minutes to steam. Taste for sweetness before serving with vanilla ice-cream and toasted coconut or nuts to garnish.
One Comment leave one →
  1. crescentmoonramblings permalink
    August 2, 2014 5:43 pm

    Sarah, both my grandmothers used to serve rhubarb and ice cream when I was young. It definitely wasn’t a healthy desert with all the white sugar used in the stewing of the fruit/vegetable. It was yummy though. My aunt grows some on her property on Mt Tamborine but you are right, I haven’t seen it in shops for some time.
    A good old fashioned favourite with a healthy twist.

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